This is me, I am Tina, I love Diet Pepsi and good coffee and conversation! Tomorrow is October 9. I will be 53, but not until tomorrow lol! This has got me in a reflective mood today and I thought I would share it with you.
When I was a child I was in my own world most of the time. I knew I was going to marry a prince and live in a castle, didn’t everyone? I lived in a world of fairies and imagination. I had an imaginary monkey who lived under the table that I fed at mealtimes (my mom was a patient mom and encouraged my creativity). When I got a little older I loved reading. I would get lost in a book and visit places I had never been. I was told as a child that if I did well in school I could go anywhere and do anything. I believed it.
There were many special birthdays over the years. I would get to invite a friend for a sleep-over and choose what we ate. I always chose spaghetti and cheesecake. My grandparents took each of us shopping for our birthday for a while and it was the most wonderful thing to go to JC Penneys and pick out a beautiful sweater that was brand new (I love sweaters and did not get many new clothes). I loved all of the time I got to spend with family members. I have rich memories of encouragement, advice, and love. I wasn’t popular at school, but I had friends that I loved and we had fun being goofy all through school. I was blessed!
Well, at 16 I decided that I would plan out my life. Here was my life plan: I would get married at 30, have children at 35 and be a lawyer. I wanted to go to Hamline University as they had a new accellerated legal program I had read about. Well, that was MY plan! At 17 I started dating Dan and at 18 decided to get married because I didn’t feel I could be a good mother AND a good lawyer AND he was super cute! I got my legal secretary degree and was ready to find a job. Being married at 18 and 21 was wonderful! Of course, we were immature and selfish but we were in love and going to conquer the world! At 20 I had Andrew and was now a mom. My! Being a mom is the best! I loved him so much I didn’t think I could love anyone ever as much as I loved that little guy! At 20 I did the best I could being a mom, but being young I can see now where I was selfish and spoiled in many ways, we can always look back and think, “If I knew then what I know now”. But that is not very productive! I have tried to remember this as I go through my days to embrace the moments we have with family and take interruptions as “God appointments”.
Well at 23 we had Robert. This little chubby adorable boy stole my heart and I knew how you could love the second child just as much as your first. We were apartment managers and caretakers and I kept busy with that and the kids and Dan worked about 70 hours a week and then would come home to cleaning, painting, or fixing – whatever the night required that I couldn’t do during the day. It was good, I had two wonderful babies and a man that loved me and my heart still speeds up every time I see him!
Over the years I worked at a Daycare/Pre-school, then had my own daycare/pre-school, was involved in all childrens’ ministry at the church we attended and were very active at. I was blessed with children and families to love and care for and get to make a living at it as well! I was also blessed to be able to homeschool our children for 7 years. I treasure many of our homeschool memories and wouldn’t trade it for anything! For birthdays, Dan and I would have a date night without the kids and go to a movie and out to eat. One of our favorite ways to have a date night!
I worked at the church we attended in Brooklyn Park when the kids were teenagers. I loved working with volunteers and kids and studying curriculum, and the best ways to reach our pre-school aged children at church and training and mentoring youth and adults who served our children. Dan and I also helped plan mission trips for the youth and went on our first mission trip with our teenaged son and not quite teenage son as well as about 30 other teens.
On our second mission trip Dan and I both felt that God might be calling our family to serve at the children’s home we were at. The first thing we had to do was learn Spanish, and consider what moving might mean to our children. As years went on we didn’t pursue that, we carried on with work, church, kids, life.
It took took until I was 48 for me to know what God was calling us to do next. This, of course was selling the house, getting rid of our years of “memories” and STUFF, working hard at learning something totally new (we are not missionaries, never thought we were “qualified” to be missionaries, and were surprised to find out that what we were being asked to do was totally in both of our giftings.
God has led this journey every step of the way. From the shooting on our first visit to today. Each day we pray for wisdom and that we hear what He wants this ministry to look like and that guides our days. Each day is different here. There is no store to go to to buy special things here, no restaurant, or coffee shop to celebrate at, we haven’t had a date night for a couple of years now. We do our celebrating at home with what we can make or do here at the house. Dan really managed to surprise me this year. He ordered a new light fixture for above the table from Konga and I didn’t even know it and when I woke up this morning it was there hanging above the table. I hardly ever get surprised! I am wayyyy too nosy! I am always able to sniff out things so Dan has pretty much given up trying to surprise me. He sure did this morning though!
I do have a point today, thank you for letting me reminisce: Make each day count! Pray, listen to the answer, be available for “God appointments” wherever you are. We are all on this journey together, friends! Live it well!
Well said, my friend! You are an inspiration to so many people. It cheers my heart to hear you are serving this way. Keep on keeping on! Love you! Happy Birthday!
Thanks so much, Karol! Love you as well~
Happy Birthday to you! Beautiful recap! You are an amazing gal. Most of your birthdays were “sweater” days. This one is definitely not! Loved our time together in Ministry. Blessings friend and prayers.
Thanks Rowena! You are right, most of my birthdays were sweater days. I loved our time together in ministry as well and know that YOU planted so many gifts in me. You built into me, encouraged me and it was one of the steps of getting where we are today. Thank you!
Happy Birthday! Glad Dan was able to surprise you. Thank you for your friendship.
Thanks Sabrina! Thank you, your friendship is so very precious to me!
Happy birthday my beautiful sister. This was beautifully written. I love and miss you xoxox. Stephanie
Thank you Steph, I love and miss you too! xoxoxo
Happy birthday Ma. You are an inspiration, I’m glad I met you. I pray God will continue to strengthen and use you more to His glory.
Thank you,Funmi, I am so glad that I met YOU! Love you!
We talk daily so you know I love you and the journey you two are on. I love to help the mission behind the scenes and to follow this special forgotten place in the world. Praying for these people in Gembu daily.
Thank you Kim, for helping this mission behind the scenes and praying for Gembu and us daily! Love you!
Thank you, Carol, I love you! Thanks for your birthday blessings and for being a long time friend! xoxoxo
Thanks Mom, I love you! I had the best mom in the world and I am thankful for the love and compassion you instilled in me !
Thank you for sharing! Happy Birthday! and I love your blog and seeing the progress daily that your share! You and Dan are such a blessing to the people you serve and it is fun to see your blog and view the progress! Praying for you daily and we all have our own feelings of inadequadcy, I sponsor a girl in Rwanda and try to write to her monthly, her country suffered a period of genocide that was atrocious but my sponsorship and monthly letters give her support and she is done with school now and training to be a seamstress! wish I could afford to visit her but am glad she is alive and studying a trade for her future!
Thank you, Laureen! The sponsorship of your girl in Rwanda is a huge blessing that will impact her life and her family’s life forever. That is so cool!